COSBY—The defensive and offensive line plowed the Cosby High Eagles to victory in a non-region contest at home on Friday night.
The Eagles invited the Claiborne Bulldogs to Virgil Ball Stadium for a back-and-forth battle with the Class 3A school. Cosby came out on top in the last 12 minutes of the game with a stingy defense and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rise to the 35-24 victory.
Cosby’s (2-6) victory was aided by its defense winning the fourth-quarter showdown against Claiborne (2-5).
The Eagles forced two turnovers on downs and picked off a last-minute pass in sealing the deal in the fourth quarter.
“I think the win goes to how hard we attacked the line,” Cosby coach Kevin Hall said. “We were attacking Claiborne’s offensive line, and we were able to push our guys forward with the offensive line. The line was huge on both sides of the ball. They forced some turnovers and helped us score.”
The defensive line racked up four sacks, and once the offense took over, junior Hunter Workman, senior Eduardo Gonzalez, and senior Jeremy Wise caused trouble for Claiborne.
“The defense came up big,” Cosby High defensive coordinator Justin Hite said. “We have fought all year long. We ran every front we had at Claiborne. We wanted to get them to throw the ball and out of their comfort zone. Once we did that we were able to apply pressure and come up on the winning side.”
Workman threw for 70 yards on 5-for-9 passing and two scores through the air. He also rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries. His leadership on both ends boosted the Eagles’ confidence needed to steal the leads.
Gonzalez carried the ball 25 times for 181 yards and three scores, while also having two sacks on the defensive end. Wise was Workman’s favorite target with three receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s great to see Wise back out there,” Hall said. “Gonzalez was able to find his spots a little easier tonight. Wise gave us another threat our there offensively. When we needed him Workman found him. The offense did some good things for us.”
The trio pushed the Eagles forward offensively, while the line pushed them forward defensively for the win.
However, Cosby did not start on out on such a positive note.
Junior Eli Stone grabbed the first touchdown for the Bulldogs to give them an early 6-0 lead after the rushing attack marched them down the field.
“We saw ourselves down, but we weren’t worried,” Hall said. “We knew we could score on them. We had the right play calls and our guys were fired up. I don’t think for one minute our kids thought they were going to lose this game.”
Cosby struck right back to tie the score at 6-6 after failing on its first drive. Gonzalez received three touches to gather 48 yards on the drive along with the score for the Eagles.
However, Claiborne bounced back to grab a 12-6 lead before ending the first quarter. Stone grabbed his second touchdown for the Bulldogs with a short sneak into the end zone.
Out of the first quarter break, Cosby’s defense executed a big stop with Gonzalez sacking Stone for a 14-yard loss on fourth down. Gonzalez’s sack started the Eagles’ second successful drive as he then rushed it in for Cosby to gain the lead of 13-12.
Cosby had the chance to grab a two-touchdown lead before going into halftime, but Workman’s 46-yard touchdown was negated by a holding penalty.
The Eagles held the one-point advantage going into halftime, though.
Claiborne recaptured the lead midway through the third quarter with 33-yard delivery from Stone to senior Hayden Hollins to gain an 18-13 advantage.
“We had to adjust a little bit,” Hall said. “Hite made some great calls on the defensive side of the ball. We adjusted to Claiborne’s run game and forced them to pass the ball. Once we took that away from them, we knew we could get some stops.”
Before ending the third quarter, Cosby bounced back to steal the lead again with Workman airing it out to senior Stephen Freshour for the 20-yard score.
The fourth quarter was the change of events for the Eagles after Claiborne’s Stone and Hollins connected once again for the score.
The 24-21 lead did not last long.
Cosby faced a fourth down situation on its 43-yard line but battled through as Workman delivered to Wise for the 43-yard touchdown pass to gain a 28-24 lead.
The Eagles’ defense did its part after forcing Claiborne to another turnover on downs. They then capitalized with the score as Gonzalez rushed into the end zone from 43 yards out.
“We knew we had them in passing downs,” Hite said. “We did the right things. We had some guys out there make some great plays that allowed us to take advantage.”
And the 35-24 lead stuck to name the Eagles victorious after Wise intercepted Stone’s pass.
Cosby escaped with the non-region victory and heads into the bye week with a win.
“This is a big win heading into the bye week for us,” Hall said. “We gain some confidence and have a full two weeks to work with and ride with this win. We are excited to get out there against Jellico now.”